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Wood burning stove crackdown

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It won't happen for 2 reasons...

 

1. The Clean Air Act as statute is virtually impossible to enforce now so DEFRA will not change it. 

2. He won't be in power in 2025....

 

He creates too many loopholes in his own legislation to pander to specific groups so it's unlikely he would want to upset these people - the ones that vote him in - to bring in yet more legislation and try and get overstretched boroughs to enforce them. 

 

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Why is the Clean Air Act so hard to enforce? 

 

I remember when the area in Gerrards Cross that we lived in back in the 1960's was made a "smokeless zone".  No one would sell ordinary coal there any more, only the new "smokeless fuel" (essentially some form of coke briquette, I think).   Back then the council were pretty hot on reporting people who were found to have smoky chimneys, so if they could do it back then, why not now?

 

I can remember staying with my grandmother in High Wycombe in the 1950's and having to walk down the street with a handkerchief over my face because of the thick smog, partly caused by the coking plant that produced town gas that was in the middle of the town.  Smog killed people every winter back then, and memories of the "Great Smog of London", that killed thousands in the space of a few days, were still very clear.  Perhaps that's why the council were so proactive about stopping people creating smoke.

 

Given that all wood burning stoves emit high levels of particulates at some point in their operating cycle, and conventional wood burning stoves emit high levels of pollutants pretty much all the time they are running (even the best are many, many times worse than a diesel car), it should be possible to just prohibit their use, following a simple complaint or discovery that firewood was being delivered to a property.

 

 

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1 hour ago, PeterW said:

2. He won't be in power in 2025....

 

In City Hall or...?

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37 minutes ago, JSHarris said:

Why is the Clean Air Act so hard to enforce? 

 

 

The act is enforced by the council Environmental Health teams - one of the ones that's taken the biggest hit in most councils. They are also now facing the new Food Hygiene Regs and implementing that so limited resources are being stretched further. 

 

There is a long running thread on GBF about one mans fight against smoke and it makes horrendous reading as to the way - despite being armed with evidence and expert witness statements - the local council have ignored the issue as it is not on their agenda...

 

Khan doesn't have the clout to change statute legislation - he's only managing to implement his own policies on road emissions as there is already pre-existing legislation that he can use. 

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44 minutes ago, JSHarris said:

[...]

so if they could do it back then, why not now?

[...]

it should be possible to just prohibit their use, following a simple complaint or discovery that firewood was being delivered to a property.

 

Let me help the relevant official at the relevant department draft a response to the very sensible question posed by the member above.

 

We are working with our partners and others towards a resolution of this complex problem. We are mindful that many people derive a good deal of wheezy pleasure staring into their log-burners at the end of a long hard day chopping wood and scavenging skips. It is our contention , based on scientific evidence provided to us by Quinetic and the Association of Log Burning Fanatics, that it is not the burning of the wood that causes the problem, rather the burning of the volatile compounds such as paint and asbestos adhering to the wood that cause the problem. 

Given this complex mix of claim and counter-claim, we intend to proceed on an evidence-lite basis. Accordingly we intend to examine this matter in Royal Commission which is tasked to report in January 2100. Until then, we advise caution in this matter. It is therefore imperative that people who own wood burners in inner cities should put aside at least one bedroom in which they should hoard any wood that they find, keeping it as wet as possible to dampen volatility.

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10 minutes ago, PeterW said:

 

The act is enforced by the council Environmental Health teams - one of the ones that's taken the biggest hit in most councils. They are also now facing the new Food Hygiene Regs and implementing that so limited resources are being stretched further. 

 

There is a long running thread on GBF about one mans fight against smoke and it makes horrendous reading as to the way - despite being armed with evidence and expert witness statements - the local council have ignored the issue as it is not on their agenda...

 

Khan doesn't have the clout to change statute legislation - he's only managing to implement his own policies on road emissions as there is already pre-existing legislation that he can use. 

 

 

That aligns with our experience in our old village over the past few years.  Being set in a deep valley, in cold, still weather the smoke from wood burning stoves (and open fires and bonfires) would settle and fill the entire valley with smoke.  Coupled with mist coming off the stream the air would often turn into thick smog.  The Parish Council, and many residents, tried for years to get the local authority environmental health people to tackle the problem, with no success at all.

 

In the end it was the police and court that settled it.  There was a serious road accident, and the cause was determined to be the very poor visibility due to the thick smog bank near bridge over the stream.  This got the council's attention, when all the evidence of the many complaints about the smoke problem, and the lack of action by the local authority, surfaced during the accident investigation.  Within weeks we had both a bonfire band imposed and regular monitoring of smoke, with those producing it told to cease and desist.  Given there was mains gas in the village, and that the cost of fire wood is now very high around here, this combination was enough to get people to stop making smoke.

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43 minutes ago, PeterW said:

There is a long running thread on GBF about one mans fight against smoke and it makes horrendous reading as to the way -  

 

That thread lost me the will to live. It went on for YEARS!

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2 minutes ago, jack said:

 

That thread lost me the will to live. It went on for YEARS!

 

I remember it starting, back before I was kicked off the GBF (for reasons still unknown, or at least, suspected, but not proven).  The poor chap was in a bit of a nightmare neighbour situation, IIRC, with the neighbour having an inappropriately positioned wood burning stove flue, with smoke being blow down to ground level and into his home as a consequence.  I think the problem was compounded by the neighbour burning old pallets and treated/painted timber.

 

It was very clearly a case of public nuisance, yet, for whatever reason, the local authority seemed reluctant to act.  Had it been me, then I would have gathered the evidence as that chap did (he went so far as to buy pollution monitoring kit, iIRC) and I'd have gone straight to court, suing the neighbours for causing a nuisance.

 

I seem to recall that the environmental health bloke was a waste of space, and kept repeating the mantra that as the stove was installed by a HETAS approved installer, there was nothing they could do, which is a load of rubbish, as HETAS has nothing to do with public nuisance, AFAICS.

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Too right what Jeremy said, the building regs still say ( iirc) " shall not commit nuisance".

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My other recollection of that thread is that the guy who was affected (I think his wife suffered the most, from memory, due to some sort of respiratory complaint) seemed to be completely convinced that the local authority were the ones who should act. I actually gave up reading it after tens of pages, when it became clear that he wasn't willing to bite the bullet and take legal action.

 

I don't actually know how it ended up - I stopped reading over there due to the general nasty vibe I got from some of the regulars.

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40 minutes ago, JSHarris said:

[...] 

I think the problem was compounded by the neighbour burning old pallets and treated/painted timber.

[...]

 

With a southerly, we get precisely that acrid stench from our 'neighbour'

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My wife loves the smell of wood burning, only last night we walked around Bristol docks as it was a nice evening and we are leaving Bristol next week , passing several canal boats you could smell the wood burners going.?

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9 minutes ago, joe90 said:

My wife loves the smell of wood burning, 

 

My wife likes it too.

 

I can't stand it. Instant headache the moment I get even a whiff of it.

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Glad to hear that Mikee has got some sort of resolution.  I felt very sorry for him at the time I was booted off the GBF, as I felt he needed some strong encouragement in order to try and steer his case in the right direction; he always seemed a bit too willing to listen to what I thought was some pretty dubious legal advice regarding his case for nuisance.

 

Let's hope the new chimney at least partially resolves his problem.  I doubt it will completely fix it, as wood smoke will always tend to settle when there are local down drafts, as I think was the case where he was.

Edited by JSHarris

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Oh my gawd, it's still going on..........there should be a law against these things dragging on so long when a nuisance is being caused/debated. I like others still say it's a nuisance that can be proved by Mikee,s evidence?

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1 minute ago, JSHarris said:

[...]

as wood smoke will always tend to settle when there are local down drafts, as I think was the case where he was.

 

Scanned the thread quickly this afternoon.

Strikes me that a little bit of creative thinking and co-operation might easily mitigate the problems: baffles, diffuser,  of some sort perhaps?

But it looks as if this has gone too far for much to change.

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12 hours ago, joe90 said:

My wife loves the smell of wood burning, only last night we walked around Bristol docks as it was a nice evening and we are leaving Bristol next week , passing several canal boats you could smell the wood burners going.?

If you can smell it, think what its doing to you?

 

Wood burner in the new gaff has never been used by us, nor will it be. I need something in the space though. Oil fired Looky likely burners seem thin on the ground...........................

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If they ban woodburners in London here is a handy conversion that avoids all that wood smoke: :D

 

Edited by curlewhouse

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Reminds me of the old waste oil heater I had in a car workshop, years ago.  That didn't have a fan, but burnt used sump oil.  They were in common use in garages and workshops for years, I think, mine was already installed in the workshop when we rented it. 

 

It was a tall, cylindrical affair, that would start on paraffin (or petrol if you were brave) and then when up to temperature would just vaporise old engine oil from a drip feed.  Turned up to maximum it could get the top glowing red hot...............

 

I hate to think what the emissions must have been like.  The flue was just a metal pipe out through the corrugated tin roof, and was probably kicking out every toxin known to man.

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37 minutes ago, dpmiller said:

Yours didn't have a water drip as well Jeremy?

 

No, just a pipe that dripped waste engine oil on to a pre-heated metal plate.  There was a pot underneath the plate that was used mainly as the pre-heater, and to catch any unburned oil from the plate.  You'd open the small door, pour some paraffin and a bit of rag in the pot, or just some petrol in the pot (if you were brave!) and toss a match in.  The trick was to let the pot get the plate nice and hot before turning on the external drip valve.  There was a bit of an art in getting the drip valve set about right, as the flow rate from the waste oil tank would increase as the workshop warmed up and the oil thinned out a bit.

 

The nice thing was that, at the time, my "business partner" (really just a mate from work who was an ace welder) and I were were servicing and repairing cars on the side, in the evenings as a second job, so the fuel for the heater was free, it came from oil changes.  In really cold weather, if we turned up at the workshop in the evening and it was a bit too cold to work, we'd preheat the plate with the oxyacetylene torch to get the stove working a bit more quickly...........

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